20 Healthy Protein and Snack Alternatives

Eating healthy food doesn’t mean giving up your favourite foods. Your favourite recipes can be adapted easily to provide a healthier alternative. For example, non-stick cookware can be used to reduce the need for cooking oil. Vegetables can also be microwaved or steamed instead of boiling to keep valuable nutrition.

There are many ways to make meals healthier. Limit fats, sugars and salt and include plenty of vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy in your cooking. Foods with added fats, sugars or salt are less healthy than food in which these are found naturally.

Here at Bayview Dental Centre, we are always looking for ways to make our favourite foods healthier without sacrificing flavour. So we compiled a list of our best substitutions and discovered some new ones along the way.

Healthier Proteins

Dry beans for canned beans : Canned beans are convenient, sure, but they also tend to have excess sodium and plenty of preservatives. Plus, even though the canned versions are dirt cheap, dried beans are even cheaper! It may take a little more work (just some simple soaking and boiling), but this switch is still well worth it.

Prosciutto or pancetta for bacon: Bacon is often the go-to for that smoky flavor in savory dishes (and even in some sweet ones). But opting for a few slices of prosciutto or pancetta can help cut both calories and fat. While bacon has about 70 calories and 6 grams of fat for two slices, prosciutto has just 30 calories and 4 grams in an equally weighted sample.

Two egg whites for one whole egg: One egg yolk holds more than half the recommended daily cholesterol for the average adult. Trading out the yolk for a second white will cut out the cholesterol while doubling the protein. If making a dish that requires more eggs, keep one to two yolks for their rich vitamins A, E, D, and K content, but consider swapping out the rest.

White-meat, skinless poultry or dark-meat poultry: The biggest chicken debate to date: white meat vs. dark meat. And the white meat has it beat—lower in calories and fat, higher in protein and iron.

Egg Beaters for egg yolks: A solid substitution for many egg dishes (like omelets or frittatas)—and even for something more complicated, like Hollandaise sauce.

Bison for beef: Higher in B vitamins and lower in fat, bison is a great substitute for the ol’ beefy standard. (When available, of course.)

Ground Turkey for ground beef: Ground turkey (or chicken) is a great substitute for ground beef to cut down on saturated fat and calories. Reminder: Because of the lower fat content, ground poultry often ends up drier than beef, but a few tablespoons of chicken stock can solve the problem in a snap!

Quinoa and ground turkey for rice and ground beef (in stuffed peppers): More protein and antioxidants in the quinoa and less fat in the ground turkey make this an all-around healthier option for this popular side dish.

Snacks, Sides & Sweets

Veggies for pita (as a dipping tool): Forget the pita. Fresh veggies work as killer dippers with hummus and contain both fewer carbs and more vitamins.

Cauliflower puree for egg yolks (in deviled eggs): For that devilish Southern favorite—deviled eggs—try replacing half the yolks in the filling with cauliflower puree. The taste remains the same, as does the texture, but without the extra dose of cholesterol.

Plain yogurt with fresh fruit for flavored yogurt: Pre-flavored yogurts often come packed with extra sugar. To skip the sugar rush without sacrificing flavor, opt for plain yogurt (or better yet, plain Greek yogurt) and add fresh fruit and/or honey or agave for a hint of sweetness.

Arugula, romaine, spinach, and/or kale for iceberg lettuce: All greens are not created equal. Darker greens usually mean more nutrients like iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Sorry, iceberg’s just not cutting it anymore—go out and get some grown-up greens.

Frozen or fresh fruits for canned fruit: Cut down on excess sugar and preservatives by choosing fresh or flash-frozen varieties.

Edamame hummus for regular hummus: While hummus might look innocent from the sidelines, it’s on our list of potential dangerfoods, packed with more than 50 calories in two tablespoons. That’s why switching to an edamame-based hummus can help reduce the danger while still providing a delicious dip.

Kale chips for potato chips: Who would’ve guessed that a leafy green could make such delicious chips? When lightly tossed in olive oil and some seasoning (salt and pepper, paprika, or chili powder work well) and baked, these curly greens turn into a delightfully delicate crunchy snack with less fat than the classic fried potato chip.

Dark chocolate for M&Ms (in trail mix): The problem with most trail mixes? They pack in the sugar-filled, candy-coated chocolate and dried fruit. Instead, make your own trail mix with unsalted nuts and dark chocolate bits (lower in sugar), which are high in free-radical-fighting flavonoids—a benefit that completely outweighs that candy-coated sweetness.

Popcorn for potato chips: Lower in calories and fat, natural popcorn without pre-flavored seasonings is a great snack alternative to replace those oily, super-salty potato chips. Try made-at-home flavors by adding cinnamon, chili powder, or Parmesan.

Banana ice cream for ice cream: No milk, no cream, no sugar… but the same, delicious consistency. It’s simple: freeze bananas, then puree.

Sweet potato fries for French fries: Opting for sweet potatoes rather than the traditional white adds an extra dose of fibre, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Plus, it cuts out roughly 20 grams of carbohydrates per one-cup serving. Just don’t overdo it!

Frozen yogurt for ice cream: Picking frozen yogurt over ice cream can help cut down fat content!

Take care of your teeth and gums with proper daily routine of brushing and flossing. Eat nutritious, healthy foods and your tummy will thank you. If your diet has impacted your oral health with severe tooth decay or tooth loss, you should know that you always have options.

Call Bayview Dental Centre today on 07 55371828 to find out about the options available to you.